Seattle Sounders 1 - 0 Rochester Raging Rhinos
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
26 SEA - Howes (Sawatzky)
Seattle: Bill May; Ali John Utush, Kieran Barton, Craig Waibel, Scott Jenkins; Dick McCormick, Sean Henderson, Andrew Gregor (Kei Kinoshita 77); Greg Howes, Viet Nguyen (Craig Tomlinson 64), Darren Sawatzky.
Rochester: Scott Vallow; Craig Demmin, Carlos Zavala, Andrew Restrepo, Scott Schweitzer; Tommy Tanner, Nate Daligcon (Mike Kirmse 65), John Ball, Martin Nash (Mali Walton 90), Lenin Steenkamp; Steve Butcher (Jimmy Glenn 79).
The Seattle Sounders beat defending US Open Cup Champions the Rochester Raging Rhinos 1-0 after rookie Greg Howes scored the lone goal midway through the first half. Rochester were playing their second match in two nights after losing 1-0 to the Vancouver 86ers the previous night on a penalty kick. The Sounders played well as a team, helping each other on defense and allowing Rochester just nine shots. Goalkeeper Bill May was in position all night long to earn the shutout.
Assistant coach Bernie James filled in as head coach while Neil Megson served a suspension for a red card from the June 28 match against Bay Area.
Rochester had the first chance 8 minutes in when sweeper AJ Utush headed a ball to the side for his left back but Steve Butcher got to it first and fired a shot from 15 yards, but May held the shot for a save.
Seattle's first chance came in the 14th minute when Scott Jenkins' long, diagonal ball was claimed by Howes on the right. Howes fed to Sean Henderson above the arc for a shot on goal, saved by Scott Vallow.
26' Howes (Sawatzky). Dick McCormick put Darren Sawatzky loosse on the right side. Sawatzky crossed from the corner of the penalty area for Howes above the arc. Howes caught Vallow a bit off his line and struck the ball on the half volley with top spin and the medium-speed shot bent over the outstretched, retreating Vallow and under the bar to give Seattle the 1-0 lead.
Seattle had a couple more chances in the next few minutes. Howes fed Dick McCormick, whose hard shot went just over the top far corner. Howes was fed for a good chance from the left but he sent it way over the bar.
At 32' away from the ball, Viet Nguyen was elbowed hard in the jaw by John Ball and went down. Nguyen grabbed Ball's leg and held it in retaliation. Referee David Bragg called a foul on Nguyen, who needed a minute before he could get back up. Even though Nguyen was obviously the victim of nastiness to the head, Bragg kept his back to his assistant and the fourth official, who were just ten yards from the incident and may very well have seen the elbow to the face. Nguyen, frustrated, then earned a yellow card for letting Bragg know how he felt.
Rochester had a few chances late in the half. A 25-yard free kick was fired just wide of the far post. Lenin Steenkamp put a shot on goal from just outside the top left corner of the penalty area, but May was in position for the save. Ex-86er Martin Nash dished to ex-Sounder Nate Daligcon on the right, whose shot from the 18-yard line rolled just wide of the far post.
The 45th saw Howes spring Nguyen on the right, and he held the ball before returning it to Howes for a shot from the arc, again sent too high. On a counterattack in added time, Andrew Gregor put Nguyen free again on the right, and he carried the ball into the penalty area before passing to Sawatzky at the arc. Sawatzky's shot was blocked, then the loose ball was claimed by the Sounders and sent ahead to Howes near the top left corner of the goal area. Howes first shot was saved, but the rebound came back to him with plenty of goal open and his second shot at the top far corner was rejected by the crossbar.
Halftime: Seattle 1 - 0 Rochester
Rochester had several chances in the first ten minutes of the second half. Ball's rocket from the right was well-saved by May, who dove to clear the ball to the far corner with one hand. On a free kick play, Nash curled a cross past the far post to Steenkamp, whose header just missed the top far corner. From Tanner's cross, Nash was pressured and shot just wide of the near post from 6 yards.
Seattle's first good shot of the half came from a free kick, taken by Gregor and sent a yard wide of the top far corner.
At 60' Nguyen went down again, this time the victim of a Carlos Zavala forearm to the nose. Zavala was only warned by Bragg, even though Nguyen was bleeding from the nose, which may have been broken according to the trainer. Nguyen left the match, helped off by the trainer, and Craig Tomlinson entered.
Howes had yet another chance, this time a header over Vallow but again rejected by the crossbar.
At 79' Rochester had a dangerous free kick from the intersection of the right penalty area line and the goal line. Nash put the kick past the far post and it was headed in front of goal, where May was fouled to end the threat.
Seattle had a couple of late chances at an insurance goal. Substitute Kei Kinoshita was served by McCormick in the penalty area and the shot was deflected just wide by a defender. Sawatzky's shot/cross from the right touch line hit the top of the bar at the far corner.
Substitute Mike Kirmse took Rochester's last shot in the 89th, a worm burner sent in from the left, but May smothered it and Seattle had earned the win.
Final: Seattle 1 - 0 Rochester
Referee: David Bragg; Asst Refs: Jayson Transtrum, Mac Pinski; 4th Official: Jon Young.